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See detailMultiple fMRI system-level baseline connectivity is disrupted in patients with consciousness alterations
Demertzi, Athina ULg; Gomez, Francisco; Crone, Julia-Sophia et al

in Cortex : A Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System & Behavior (in press)

Introduction: In healthy conditions, group-level fMRI resting state analyses identify ten resting state networks (RSNs) of cognitive relevance. Here, we aim to assess the tennetwork model in severely ... [more ▼]

Introduction: In healthy conditions, group-level fMRI resting state analyses identify ten resting state networks (RSNs) of cognitive relevance. Here, we aim to assess the tennetwork model in severely brain-injured patients suffering from disorders of consciousness and to identify those networks which will be most relevant to discriminate between patients and healthy subjects. Methods: 300 fMRI volumes were obtained in 27 healthy controls and 53 patients in minimally conscious state (MCS), vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/ UWS) and coma. Independent component analysis (ICA) reduced data dimensionality. The ten networks were identified by means of a multiple template-matching procedure and were tested on neuronality properties (neuronal vs non-neuronal) in a data-driven way. Univariate analyses detected between-group differences in networks’ neuronal properties and estimated voxel-wise functional connectivity in the networks, which were significantly less identifiable in patients. A nearest-neighbor “clinical” classifier was used to determine the networks with high between-group discriminative accuracy. Results: Healthy controls were characterized by more neuronal components compared to patients in VS/UWS and in coma. Compared to healthy controls, fewer patients in MCS and VS/UWS showed components of neuronal origin for the left executive control network, default mode network (DMN), auditory, and right executive control network. The “clinical” classifier indicated the DMN and auditory network with the highest accuracy (85.3%) in discriminating patients from healthy subjects. [less ▲]

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See detailMemory Reactivation During Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep Promotes Its Generalization and Integration in Cortical Stores
Sterpenich, Virginie; Schmidt, Christina ULg; Albouy, Genevièvre et al

in Sleep (in press)

Memory reactivation appears to be a fundamental process in memory consolidation. Here, we tested the influence of memory reactivation during REM sleep on memory performance and brain responses at ... [more ▼]

Memory reactivation appears to be a fundamental process in memory consolidation. Here, we tested the influence of memory reactivation during REM sleep on memory performance and brain responses at retrieval in healthy human participants. Auditory cues were associated with pictures of faces during their encoding. These memory cues delivered during REM sleep enhanced subsequent accurate recollections but also false recognitions. These results suggest that reactivated memories interacted with semantically-related representations, and induced new creative associations, which subsequently reduced the distinction between new and previously encoded exemplars. Cues had no effect if presented during stage 2 sleep, or if they were not associated with faces during encoding. Functional MRI revealed that following exposure to conditioned cues during REM sleep, responses to faces during retrieval were enhanced both in a visual area and in a cortical region of multisensory (auditory-visual) convergence. These results show that reactivating memories during REM sleep enhances cortical responses during retrieval, suggesting the integration of recent memories within cortical circuits, favoring the generalization and schematization of the information. [less ▲]

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See detailWhite Matter Changes in Comatose Survivors of Anoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy and Traumatic Brain Injury: Comparative Diffusion-Tensor Imaging Study
Van Der Eerden, Anke; Khalilzadeh, Omid; Perlbarg, Vincent et al

in Radiology (2014), 270

Purpose:To analyze white matter pathologic abnormalities by using diffusion-tensor (DT) imaging in a multicenter prospective cohort of comatose patients following cardiac arrest or traumatic brain injury ... [more ▼]

Purpose:To analyze white matter pathologic abnormalities by using diffusion-tensor (DT) imaging in a multicenter prospective cohort of comatose patients following cardiac arrest or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Materials and Methods: Institutional review board approval and informed consent from proxies and control subjects were obtained. DT imaging was performed 5–57 days after insult in 49 cardiac arrest and 40 TBI patients. To control for DT imaging–processing variability, patients’ values were normalized to those of 111 control subjects. Automated segmentation software calculated normalized axial diffusivity (λ1) and radial diffusivity (λ) in 19 predefined white matter regions of interest (ROIs). DT imaging variables were compared by using general linear modeling, and side-to-side Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated. P values were corrected for multiple testing (Bonferroni). Results:In central white matter, λ1 differed from that in control subjects in six of seven TBI ROIs and five of seven cardiac arrest ROIs (all P < .01). The λ differed from that in control subjects in all ROIs in both patient groups (P < .01). In hemispheres, λ1 was decreased compared with that in control subjects in three of 12 TBI ROIs (P < .05) and nine of 12 cardiac arrest ROIs (P < .01). The λ was increased in all TBI ROIs (P < .01) and in seven of 12 cardiac arrest ROIs (P < .05). Cerebral hemisphere λ1 was lower in cardiac arrest than in TBI in six of 12 ROIs (P < .01), while λ was higher in TBI than in cardiac arrest in eight of 12 ROIs (P < .01). Diffusivity values were symmetrically distributed in cardiac arrest (P < .001 for side-to-side correlation) but not in TBI patients. Conclusion:DT imaging findings are consistent with the known predominance of cerebral hemisphere axonal injury in cardiac arrest and chiefly central myelin injury in TBI. This consistency supports the validity of DT imaging for differentiating axon and myelin damage in vivo in humans. [less ▲]

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See detailEffect of zolpidem in chronic disorders of consciousness: a prospective open-label study.
Thonnard, Marie ULg; Gosseries, Olivia ULg; Demertzi, Athina ULg et al

in Functional Neurology (2014)

Zolpidem has been reported as an "awakening drug" in some patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). We here present the results of a prospective openlabel study in chronic DOC patients. Sixty ... [more ▼]

Zolpidem has been reported as an "awakening drug" in some patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). We here present the results of a prospective openlabel study in chronic DOC patients. Sixty patients (35±15 years; 18 females; mean time since insult ± SD: 4±5.5 years; 31 with traumatic etiology) with a diagnosis of vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (n=28) or minimally conscious state (n=32) were behaviorally assessed using the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised (CRS-R) before and one hour after administration of 10 mg of zolpidem. At the group level, the diagnosis did not change after intake of zolpidem (p=0.10) and CRS-R total scores decreased (p=0.01). Twelve patients (20%) showed improved behaviors and/or CRS-R total scores after zolpidem administration but in only one patient was the diagnosis after zolpidem intake found to show a significant improvement (functional object use), which suggested a change of diagnosis. However, in this patient, a double-blind placebo-controlled trial was performed in order to better specify the effects of zolpidem, but the patient, on this trial, failed to show any clinical improvements. The present open-label study therefore failed to show any clinically significant improvement (i.e., change of Effect of zolpidem in chronic disorders of consciousness: a prospective open-label study diagnosis) in any of the 60 studied chronic DOC patients. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamic change of global and local information processing in Propofol-induced loss and recovery of consciousness
Monti, Martin; Lutkenoff, Evan; Rubinov, Mikail et al

in PLoS Computational Biology (2013), 9

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See detailChanges in Effective Connectivity by Propofol Sedation
Gomez Jaramillo, Francisco Albeiro ULg; Phillips, Christophe ULg; Soddu, Andrea ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(8), 71370

Mechanisms of propofol-induced loss of consciousness remain poorly understood. Recent fMRI studies have shown decreases in functional connectivity during unconsciousness induced by this anesthetic agent ... [more ▼]

Mechanisms of propofol-induced loss of consciousness remain poorly understood. Recent fMRI studies have shown decreases in functional connectivity during unconsciousness induced by this anesthetic agent. Functional connectivity does not provide information of directional changes in the dynamics observed during unconsciousness. The aim of the present study was to investigate, in healthy humans during an auditory task, the changes in effective connectivity resulting from propofol induced loss of consciousness. We used Dynamic Causal Modeling for fMRI (fMRI-DCM) to assess how causal connectivity is influenced by the anesthetic agent in the auditory system. Our results suggest that the dynamic observed in the auditory system during unconsciousness induced by propofol, can result in a mixture of two effects: a local inhibitory connectivity increase and a decrease in the effective connectivity in sensory cortices. [less ▲]

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See detailBrain dead yet mind alive: A positron emission tomography case study of brain metabolism in Cotard’s syndrome
Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULg; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie ULg; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg et al

in Cortex : A Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System & Behavior (2013), 49(7), 1997-1999

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See detailCharacteristics of Near-Death Experiences Memories as Compared to Real and Imagined Events Memories
Thonnard, Marie ULg; Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULg; Brédart, Serge ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(3),

Since the dawn of time, Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) have intrigued and, nowadays, are still not fully explained. Since reports of NDEs are proposed to be imagined events, and since memories of imagined ... [more ▼]

Since the dawn of time, Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) have intrigued and, nowadays, are still not fully explained. Since reports of NDEs are proposed to be imagined events, and since memories of imagined event have, on average, fewer phenomenological characteristics than real events memories, we here compared phenomenological characteristics of NDEs reports with memories of imagined and real events. We included three groups of coma survivors (8 patients with NDE as defined by the Greyson NDE scale, 6 patients without NDE but with memory of their coma, 7 patients without memories of their coma) and a group of 18 age-matched healthy volunteers. Five types of memories were assessed using Memory Characteristics Questionnaire (MCQ – Johnson et al., 1988): target memory (NDE for NDE memory group, coma memory for coma memory group, and first childhood memory for no memory and control groups), old and recent real event memories and old and recent imagined event memories. Since NDEs are known to have high emotional content, participants were requested to choose the most emotionally salient memories for both real and imagined recent and old event memories. Results showed that, in NDE memories group, NDE memories have more characteristics than memories of imagined and real events (p<0.02). NDE memories contain more self-referential and emotional information and have better clarity than memories of coma (all p<0.02). The present study showed that NDE memories contain more characteristics than real event memories and coma memories. Thus, this suggests that they cannot be considered as imagined event memories. On the contrary, their physiological origins could lead them to be really perceived although not lived in the reality. Further work is needed to better understand this phenomenon. [less ▲]

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See detailActigraphy assessments of circadian sleep-wake cycles in the Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States
Cruse, Damian; Thibaut, Aurore ULg; Demertzi, Athina ULg et al

in BMC Neuroscience (2013), 11(18),

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See detailAltered network properties of the fronto-parietal network and the thalamus in impaired consciousness
Crone, Julia Sophia; Soddu, Andrea ULg; Höller, Yvonne et al

in NeuroImage: Clinical (2013)

Recovery of consciousness has been associated with connectivity in the frontal cortex and parietal regions modulated by the thalamus. To examine this model and to relate alterations to deficits in ... [more ▼]

Recovery of consciousness has been associated with connectivity in the frontal cortex and parietal regions modulated by the thalamus. To examine this model and to relate alterations to deficits in cognitive functioning and conscious processing, we investigated topological network properties in patients with chronic disorders of consciousness recovered from coma. Resting state fMRI data of 34 patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome and 25 in minimally conscious state were compared to 28 healthy controls.We investigated global and local network characteristics. Additionally, behavioralmeasureswere correlatedwith the localmetrics of 28 regionswithin the fronto-parietal network and the thalamus. In chronic disorders of consciousness, modularity at the global level was reduced suggesting a disturbance in the optimal balance between segregation and integration.Moreover, network properties were altered in several regionswhich are associatedwith conscious processing (particularly, inmedial parietal, and frontal regions, aswell as in the thalamus). Between minimally conscious and unconscious patients the local efficiency of medial parietal regions differed. Alterations in the thalamus were particularly evident in non-conscious patients.Most of the regions affected in patientswith impaired consciousness belong to the so-called ‘rich club’ of highly interconnected central nodes. Disturbances in their topological characteristics have severe impact on information integration and are reflected in deficits in cognitive functioning probably leading to a total breakdown of consciousness. [less ▲]

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See detailThalamus, Brainstem and Salience Network Connectivity Changes During Propofol-Induced Sedation and Unconsciousness
Guldenmund, Justus Pieter ULg; Demertzi, Athina ULg; BOVEROUX, Pierre ULg et al

in Brain connectivity (2013), 3

In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we examined the effect of mild propofol sedation and propofol-induced unconsciousness on resting state brain connectivity, using graph analysis based ... [more ▼]

In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we examined the effect of mild propofol sedation and propofol-induced unconsciousness on resting state brain connectivity, using graph analysis based on independent component analysis and a classical seed-based analysis. Contrary to previous propofol research, which mainly emphasized the importance of connectivity in the default mode network (DMN) and external control network (ECN), we focused on the salience network, thalamus, and brainstem. The importance of these brain regions in brain arousal and organization merits a more detailed examination of their connectivity response to propofol. We found that the salience network disintegrated during propofol-induced unconsciousness. The thalamus decreased connectivity with the DMN, ECN, and salience network, while increasing connectivity with sensorimotor and auditory/insular cortices. Brainstem regions disconnected from the DMN with unconsciousness, while the pontine tegmental area increased connectivity with the insulae during mild sedation. These findings illustrate that loss of consciousness is associated with a wide variety of decreases and increases of both cortical and subcortical connectivity. It furthermore stresses the necessity of also examining resting state connectivity in networks representing arousal, not only those associated with awareness. [less ▲]

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See detailProbing command following in patients with disorders of consciousness using a brain-computer interface.
Lule, Dorothee; Noirhomme, Quentin ULg; Kleih, Sonja C. et al

in Clinical Neurophysiology (2013), 124(1), 101-6

OBJECTIVE: To determine if brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) could serve as supportive tools for detecting consciousness in patients with disorders of consciousness by detecting response to command and ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: To determine if brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) could serve as supportive tools for detecting consciousness in patients with disorders of consciousness by detecting response to command and communication. METHODS: We tested a 4-choice auditory oddball EEG-BCI paradigm on 16 healthy subjects and 18 patients in a vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, in a minimally conscious state (MCS), and in locked-in syndrome (LIS). Subjects were exposed to 4 training trials and 10 -12 questions. RESULTS: Thirteen healthy subjects and one LIS patient were able to communicate using the BCI. Four of those did not present with a P3. One MCS patient showed command following with the BCI while no behavioral response could be detected at bedside. All other patients did not show any response to command and could not communicate with the BCI. CONCLUSION: The present study provides evidence that EEG based BCI can detect command following in patients with altered states of consciousness and functional communication in patients with locked-in syndrome. However, BCI approaches have to be simplified to increase sensitivity. SIGNIFICANCE: For some patients without any clinical sign of consciousness, a BCI might bear the potential to employ a "yes-no" spelling device offering the hope of functional interactive communication. [less ▲]

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See detailPain perception in disorders of consciousness: neuroscience, clinical care, and ethics in dialogue
Demertzi, Athina ULg; Racine, Eric; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie ULg et al

in Neuroethics (2013), 6(1), 37-50

Pain, suffering and positive emotions in patients in vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) and minimally conscious states (MCS) pose clinical and ethical challenges. Clinically, we ... [more ▼]

Pain, suffering and positive emotions in patients in vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) and minimally conscious states (MCS) pose clinical and ethical challenges. Clinically, we evaluate behavioural responses after painful stimulation and also emotionally-contingent behaviours (e.g., smiling). Using stimuli with emotional valence, neuroimaging and electrophysiology technologies can detect subclinical remnants of preserved capacities for pain which might influence decisions about treatment limitation. To date, no data exist as to how healthcare providers think about end-of-life options (e.g., withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration) in the presence or absence of pain in non-communicative patients. Here, we aimed to better clarify this issue by re-analyzing previously published data on pain perception (Prog Brain Res 2009 177, 329–38) and end-of-life decisions (J Neurol 2010 258, 1058–65) in patients with disorders of consciousness. In a sample of 2259 European healthcare professionals we found that, for VS/UWS more respondents agreed with treatment withdrawal when they considered that VS/UWS patients did not feel pain (77%) as compared to those who thought VS/UWS did feel pain (59%). This interaction was influenced by religiosity and professional background. For MCS, end-of-life attitudes were not influenced by opinions on pain perception. Within a contemporary ethical context we discuss (1) the evolving scientific understandings of pain perception and their relationship to existing clinical and ethical guidelines; (2) the discrepancies of attitudes within (and between) healthcare providers and their consequences for treatment approaches, and (3) the implicit but complex relationship between pain perception and attitudes toward life-sustaining treatments. [less ▲]

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See detailLooking for the self in pathological unconsciousness.
Demertzi, Athina ULg; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey ULg; Brédart, Serge ULg et al

in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2013), 7

There is an intimate relationship between consciousness and the notion of self. By studying patients with disorders of consciousness, we are offered with a unique lesion approach to tackle the neural ... [more ▼]

There is an intimate relationship between consciousness and the notion of self. By studying patients with disorders of consciousness, we are offered with a unique lesion approach to tackle the neural correlates of self in the absence of subjective reports. Studies employing neuroimaging techniques point to the critical involvement of midline anterior and posterior cortices in response to the passive presentation of self-referential stimuli, such as the patient’s own name and own face. Also, resting state studies show that these midline regions are severely impaired as a function of the level of consciousness. Theoretical frameworks combining all this progress surpass the functional localization of self-related cognition and suggest a dynamic system-level approach to the phenomenological complexity of subjectivity. Importantly for non-communicating patients suffering from disorders of consciousness, the clinical translation of these technologies will allow medical professionals and families to better comprehend these disorders and plan efficient medical management for these patients. [less ▲]

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See detailDetecting Consciousness with a Brain-computer Interface
Noirhomme, Quentin ULg; Lesenfants, Damien ULg; Lehembre, Remy ULg et al

in Pons, J. L.; Torricelli, D.; Pajaro, M. (Eds.) Converging Clinical and Engineering Research on Neurorehabilitation (2012, November)

Recent electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies showed command-specific changes in EEG or fMRI signals of unresponsive patients providing motor-independent evidence of conscious thoughts. These ... [more ▼]

Recent electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies showed command-specific changes in EEG or fMRI signals of unresponsive patients providing motor-independent evidence of conscious thoughts. These promising results have paved the way for a new application for Brain-computer Interface (BCI): detecting consciousness in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). In the present abstract, we review the first results obtained by BCI-like applications in patients with DOC and discuss the challenges facing BCI research. We believe that patients with DOC may benefit from BCI based diagnosis. BCIs may detect changes in the signal in response to command and, in some cases, may permit communication. [less ▲]

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See detailMemories of Near-Death experiences are they memories of imagined events?
Thonnard, Marie ULg; Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULg; Brédart, Serge ULg et al

Poster (2012, October 27)

Background: The phenomenon of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) has always intrigued but is still not fully explained despite numerous theories and studies. Since reports of NDEs are proposed to be imagined ... [more ▼]

Background: The phenomenon of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) has always intrigued but is still not fully explained despite numerous theories and studies. Since reports of NDEs are proposed to be imagined events (French, 2001), and since memories of imagined events have, on average, fewer phenomenological characteristics than real event memories (e.g. Johnson et al., 1988), we here compared phenomenological characteristics of NDEs reports with memories of imagined and real events. Methods: We included 3 groups of coma survivors (8 patients with NDE as defined by the Greyson NDE scale – the “NDE memory group”- , 6 patients without NDE but with memory of their coma – the “coma memory group” – and 7 patients without memories of their coma – the “no memory group”) and a group of 18 age-matched healthy volunteers. Five memories were assessed using Memory Characteristics Questionnaire (MCQ – Johnson et al., 1988): target memory (NDE for NDE memory group, coma memory for coma memory group, and first childhood memory for no memory and control groups), old and recent real event memories and old and recent imagined event memories. Results: In NDE group, NDE memories showd more characteristics than memories of imagined and real events (p<0.02). These memories contain more self-referential and emotional information and have better clarity than memories of coma (all p<0.02). Conclusion: The present study showed that NDE memories contain more characteristics than real event memories and coma memories. Thus, they cannot be considered as classic imagined event memories. On the contrary, their physiological origins could lead them to be really perceived although not lived in the reality. Further work is needed to better understand this phenomenon [less ▲]

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See detailAuditory Resting-State Network Connectivity in Tinnitus: a Functionnal MRI Study.
MAUDOUX, Audrey ULg; LEFEBVRE, Philippe ULg; CABAY, Jean-Evrard ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2012)

The underlying functional neuroanatomy of tinnitus remains poorly understood. Few studies have focused on functional cerebral connectivity changes in tinnitus patients. The aim of this study was to test ... [more ▼]

The underlying functional neuroanatomy of tinnitus remains poorly understood. Few studies have focused on functional cerebral connectivity changes in tinnitus patients. The aim of this study was to test if functional MRI ‘‘resting-state’’ connectivity patterns in auditory network differ between tinnitus patients and normal controls. Thirteen chronic tinnitus subjects and fifteen age-matched healthy controls were studied on a 3 tesla MRI. Connectivity was investigated using independent component analysis and an automated component selection approach taking into account the spatial and temporal properties of each component. Connectivity in extra-auditory regions such as brainstem, basal ganglia/NAc, cerebellum, parahippocampal, right prefrontal, parietal, and sensorimotor areas was found to be increased in tinnitus subjects. The right primary auditory cortex, left prefrontal, left fusiform gyrus, and bilateral occipital regions showed a decreased connectivity in tinnitus. These results show that there is a modification of cortical and subcortical functional connectivity in tinnitus encompassing attentional, mnemonic, and emotional networks. Our data corroborate the hypothesized implication of non-auditory regions in tinnitus physiopathology and suggest that various regions of the brain seem involved in the persistent awareness of the phenomenon as well as in the development of the associated distress. leading to disabling chronic tinnitus. [less ▲]

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See detailPain perception in disorders of consciousness: Neuroscience, clinical care, and ethics in dialogue
Demertzi, Athina ULg; Racine, Eric; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie ULg et al

in Neuroethics (2012)

Pain, suffering and positive emotions in patients in vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) and minimally conscious states (MCS) pose clinical and ethical challenges. Clinically, we ... [more ▼]

Pain, suffering and positive emotions in patients in vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) and minimally conscious states (MCS) pose clinical and ethical challenges. Clinically, we evaluate behavioural responses after painful stimulation and also emotionally-contingent behaviours (e.g., smiling). Using stimuli with emotional valence, neuroimaging and electrophysiology technologies can detect subclinical remnants of preserved capacities for pain which might influence decisions about treatment limitation. To date, no data exist as to how healthcare providers think about end-of-life options (e.g., withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration) in the presence or absence of pain in non-communicative patients. Here, we aimed to better clarify this issue by re-analyzing previously published data on pain perception (Prog Brain Res 2009 177, 329–38) and end-of-life decisions (J Neurol 2010 258, 1058–65) in patients with disorders of consciousness. In a sample of 2259 European healthcare professionals we found that, for VS/UWS more respondents agreed with treatment withdrawal when they considered that VS/UWS patients did not feel pain (77%) as compared to those who thought VS/UWS did feel pain (59%). This interaction was influenced by religiosity and professional background. For MCS, end-of-life attitudes were not influenced by opinions on pain perception. Within a contemporary ethical context we discuss (1) the evolving scientific understandings of pain perception and their relationship to existing clinical and ethical guidelines; (2) the discrepancies of attitudes within (and between) healthcare providers and their consequences for treatment approaches, and (3) the implicit but complex relationship between pain perception and attitudes toward life-sustaining treatments. [less ▲]

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See detailResting state networks and consciousness Alterations of multiple resting state network connectivity in physiological, pharmacological and pathological consciousness states
Heine, Lizette ULg; Soddu, Andrea ULg; Gomez Jaramillo, Francisco Albeiro ULg et al

in Frontiers in Psychology [=FPSYG] (2012)

In order to better understand the functional contribution of resting state activity to conscious cognition, we aimed to review increases and decreases in fMRI functional connectivity under physiological ... [more ▼]

In order to better understand the functional contribution of resting state activity to conscious cognition, we aimed to review increases and decreases in fMRI functional connectivity under physiological (sleep), pharmacological (anesthesia) and pathological altered states of consciousness, such as brain death, coma, vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, and minimally conscious state. The reviewed RSNs were the DMN, left and right executive control, salience, sensorimotor, auditory and visual networks. We highlight some methodological issues concerning resting state analyses in severely injured brains mainly in terms of hypothesis-driven seed-based correlation analysis and data-driven independent components analysis approaches. Finally, we attempt to contextualize our discussion within theoretical frameworks of conscious processes. We think that this “lesion” approach allows us to better determine the necessary conditions under which normal conscious cognition takes place. At the clinical level, we acknowledge the technical merits of the resting state paradigm. Indeed, fast and easy acquisitions are preferable to activation paradigms in clinical populations. Finally, we emphasize the need to validate the diagnostic and prognostic value of fMRI resting state measurements in non-communicating brain damaged patients. [less ▲]

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